A German team of researchers (with one American from Kansas) at the Technische Universität Dresden have developed a literature review-based interactive database of trees and shrubs. In three words: it’s really cool. The resulting database includes more than 390 woody plants that may be queried for site characteristics and natural distribution, tree appearance, ecosystem services, management activities, and the risks and interferences caused by urban plants. You’ll find a number of American species, as well as ornamentals.
The database is meant to increase plant and landscape performance from the outset by assisting its users in accessing the best information so that the correct plant is specified for the space.
Citree is an interdisciplinary academic collaboration that includes botany, forestry, engineering and humanities at the Technische Universität Dresden, Germany. The University of Kansas participant is from the School of Architecture, Design and Planning.
The database includes dozens of criteria about each plant. Climatic conditions include: plant hardiness zone, late frost risk, light requirements, drought risk, heat risk and air pollution tolerance. Soil conditions include pH, substrate, depth, compaction tolerance, moisture requirements, wet soils tolerance and tolerance to de-icing salts. Natural distribution includes the plant’s origin and whether or not it was introduced to Europe post 1492. Tree appearance includes habit, growth shape, height, growth rate, crown shape and radius, crown transparency and trunk/stem development.
In addition, leaves, flowers and fruit are documented, including their ornamental attractiveness. Ecosystems services include whether or not the tree is useful for bees to produce honey, if the fruit is edible, usefulness to birds, and whether or not it adsorbs particulate matter or absorbs NO2 or ozone. Management activities include maintenance and undergrowth. Risks and interferences include allergy potential and the period allergens are produced, toxicity, limb breakage, invasion risk, root damage, fruit fall, odor and thorns/spikes.
The developers don’t claim Citree is perfect and acknowledge that as work continues to document plant performance and function in landscapes, the information should be incorporated. As a consistent way to categorize plant performance across a wide range of performance metrics, it’s a great start.
Citree is a research project of Technische Universität (2012 – 2015) that was financed by the European Union and the Free State of Saxony. The site is licensed under the Creative-Commons-Lizense BY-NC-SA 4.0.
Citree: A database supporting tree selection for urban areas in temperate climate by Juliane Vogta, Sten Gillnerb, Mathias Hofmannc, Andreas Tharangd, Sebastian Dettmannb, Tina Gerstenberge, Catrin Schmidtf, Helmut Gebauere, Keith Van de Rietg, Uta Bergera, Andreas Roloffb in Landscape and Urban Planning and Database helps plant ‘right tree for the right place’ by Mark Kinver for BBC News.
December 15, 2016 NewTerrain.